Sunday Sound Off: What should happen in 2019?

Johnson City Press • Dec 30, 2018 at 8:15 AM

A new year always comes with plans, hopes and projections. Some materialize. Others fall to the wayside or take longer than expected.

We already know, for example, East Tennessee State University’s new performing arts center will not open in 2019 as originally scheduled. The university expects construction to conclude in spring 2020.

Developer Grant Summers appears on track, however, to complete the Model Mill renovation for Summers-Taylor’s new headquarters, along with retail and office spaces, in the coming year. Among the first tenants would be the local Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

We also know that Johnson City will celebrate its 150th birthday with events throughout 2019 leading up to the official anniversary on Dec. 1. A kickoff event is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 5, at the former J.C. Penney building at 309 E. Main St.

You can also count on more developments in Ballad Health’s integration, including the merged health system’s plans to concentrate and consolidate services in certain locations.

We certainly hope Washington County will finally start work on the long-debated Jonesborough school project. We hope Johnson City will continue to foster downtown’s revitalization while also addressing improvements in other areas. We expect more news from BrightRidge in its solar and broadband initiatives.

The region’s governmental leaders have stated their legislative goals for 2019 with hopes for changes in school funding methodology, sales tax collections, annexation laws and oversight of blighted properties.

So what do you think should happen in 2019 in your community? What needs should be addressed in Johnson City, Jonesborough, Elizabethton, Erwin and Mountain City? What about such rural communities as Telford, Limestone, Telford and Flag Pond?

Are there specific needs in water-sewer, road projects, education, health care and other essential services?

As Bill Lee takes office as Tennessee’s 50th governor, what should be chief on his agenda?

Here’s your chance to sound off. Tell us your civic hopes for 2019. Your thoughts could be included in a future edition of Johnson City Press.

Send your comments to [email protected] Please include your name, telephone number and address for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length.

Editor’s note: This article has been altered from its original version to correct the date and address of Johnson City’s sesquicentennial kickoff event.

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